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Buffalo woman pleads guilty to cocaine charges


BUFFALO -- Elisa Rivera Ortiz, 36, of Buffalo, pleaded guilty, before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara, to attempted possession, with intent to distribute, cocaine. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Adler, who is handling the case, stated that on April 8, 2017, United States Postal Inspectors intercepted a package that was addressed to the defendant. Inside, the Postal Inspectors found cocaine. On June 30, 2017, inspectors again intercepted a package addressed to the defendant.  Once again, they found cocaine.

On July 6, 2017, a controlled delivery of a package containing sham cocaine and a monitoring device was made to the defendant’s Warren Avenue residence. Once the monitor alerted investigators that the package had been opened, they entered the residence and executed a search warrant. Ortiz attempted to run out the side door but was taken into custody.

During the search, investigators located drug packaging materials, a digital scale with suspected cocaine residue, and a small bag of marijuana. Ortiz’s son and three other minor children were in the residence at the time.

The plea is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge James J. Hunt, New York Field Division, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Boston Division Inspector in Charge Shelly Binkowski.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 25.

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